Sean Bean looks back on his Game of Thrones death scene
"It was horror and disbelief — that Joffrey changed his mind [about exiling Ned] — and then resignation and [realizing that he was] seeing his daughter for the last time, Arya," the 61-year-old actor recalls of the shocking scene in the show's 2011 episode "Baelor." "I was trying to think of all four [things]. It wasn't just, 'Oh God, I'm getting my head chopped off.' Those mix of feelings is what made it what it was, I suppose.
"It took like a whole day or so to film it and you so you have to just keep focused on the fact that you're about to meet your death without messing around," the actor adds. "I was very hot at the time, so that probably helped. And everybody else's reactions were fantastic — Cersei and the kids. It was very moving with a lot of pathos in that scene. Then I put my head in the block and I was finished for the day."
Just before the sword came down, Ned quietly whispered to himself. Director Alan Taylor explained in my book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, "[Bean] asked somebody what an appropriate prayer would be for somebody of his belief. People have tried to guess what he said, but it’s something private Sean created based on that."
The actor also briefly discussed the HBO drama's original pilot, which was substantially reshot.
"I thought [the original pilot] was all right, but I was only focused on the scenes I was in," Bean says. "We filmed in Northern Ireland and in Scotland and then the producers [David Benioff and Dan Weiss] made some major changes. I felt the body of it was there, that the spirit of the piece was there, but I think they felt the development of the characters and the story could be improved. So we ended up doing quite a lot of reshoots. It was a testing time for us all trying to get to know what we were doing in the whole scheme of things, and it was for the best."
Wolfwalkers is streaming now on Apple TV+.
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